ANM—March 15 (2)

A major happening today at the new DDP office building was the blessing of the buildings by Buddhist monks and by Fr. Charles Dittmeier. Cambodians are very superstitious and every time we move to a new venue, we need to arrange for blessings as protection against evil spirits.

Early in the afternoon four monks from a local pagoda came for the Buddhist blessing. The service consisted of chanting in the Pali language while the head monk blessed the assembled people with water.
At the end of the ceremony, the monks each receive a gift.
A visit by the monks is a significant event and after their departure the staff and students celebrated with Cokes and cookies and fruit.
After the pause for snacks, Fr. Charlie Dittmeier led a Christian blessing of the office and the hostels. This ceremony was to introduce the students to Christianity and help them understand the beliefs of other religions.
Grace Ortiz is a Baptist missionary working in the Social Work Project of DDP and she proclaimed a short reading from John’s gospel to help the deaf students understand the idea of the Christian scriptures.
Then we moved into the main building to bless the offices and classrooms.
Next we walked back to the hostels behind the office building to bless the rooms where the students sleep and eat. This is the boys’ hostel.
At the girls’ hostel, incense was lit. At each place the offices and rooms were also sprinkled with holy water along with a prayer for protection for the staff and students.